Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

02.11 The Court Blocks Efforts to Slow Climate Change

02.10 Supreme court to block Obama's sweeping climate change plan

02.09 These microscopic phytoplankton can be seen from space. And they're disappearing rapidly.

02.09 Air pollution raises risk of death 'for decades after exposure'

02.08 Sailing ships back in vogue as a green alternative to conventional shipping [Cool! New ships to be automated—think motorized sails]

02.08 UN agency seeks to end rift on new aircraft emission rules

02.08 The deadly toll of city smog

02.08 Surge in privatisation threatening free NHS treatment, unions say

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

02.11 Wingnuts have a death-grip on Congress: Why Paul Ryan can’t control the House GOP

02.11 Obama Celebrates Nine Years of Doing Nothing About Money in Politics [inaction proves his allegiance to the 'super-rich & corporate democrat party']

02.11 How Elizabeth Warren Helped Sanders Deflate Clinton's Massive Political Apparatus

02.10 Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Ride the Populist Wave

02.10 5 takeaways from New Hampshire

02.10 David Brooks begins a conservative 12-step program — after eight years of giving right-wing looniness the cover of his respectability

02.09 Overwhelming Majority of Americans Believe that Both Parties Are Too Corrupt to Change Anything ... Want a Revolution

02.09 G.O.P. Lawmakers Snub Obama’s Final Budget Sight Unseen

02.09 Bernie Sanders may win big this week. Our panelists share why he has their vote

Justice Matters

02.11 United States v. Ferguson

02.10 Texas prosecutor officially disbarred for sending innocent man to death row

02.10 Restoring Voting Rights for Felons in Maryland

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

02.10 The five fears stalking the global banking industry

02.10 Stock market rout intensifies amid fears central banks are 'out of ammunition'

02.09 Oil Dictator Dominos

02.09 Robert Reich: Democrats can’t give in to defeatism

02.09 'Panic situation': Asian stocks tumble amid fears of new global recession

02.09 What's holding back the world economy?

International

02.11 Migrant crisis: Nato deploys Aegean people-smuggling patrols [why not provide ferry service to avoid the many drownings? Why not pay Greece—desperate for economic help—to provide camps?]

02.11 Israel: Friedman of the NY Times surrenders to One-State Solution, sees ME Apocalypse

02.11 Let’s End the Peril of a Nuclear Winter

02.11 How to Build a Streetcar That Works

02.10 Netanyahu plans fence around Israel to protect it from 'wild beasts'

02.09 Erdogan Threatened Europe with Refugees, now Demanding US abandon Syrian Kurds

02.09 It's not just water that's poisoning our kids; it's also our collapsing democracy

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Impeachment: Breaking the Dam in Olympia, Washington
Newspaper logo

OUTRAGE:

Impeachment: Breaking the Dam in Olympia, Washington

by DAVE LINDORFF
Even if the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says impeachment is “off the table,” a sizeable hunk of the American public is hungering for a taste of it.
If the state of Washington ends up passing a joint legislative resolution next month calling on the US House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney, it will because 900 people who crammed into Olympia’s Center for the Performing Arts last Tuesday evening, and countless others across the state, pushed them into it.

The crowd at the arts center had come to attend an event organized by the Citizens Movement to Impeach Bush/Cheney, a local ad hoc citizens’ organization in this little burg that had convinced the local city council to make the 1000-seat auditorium available for a hearing on impeachment.

When I and my two co-speakers, CIA veteran Ray McGovern and former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, came out on the stage, we all felt not like political speakers or authors, but like rock stars. The applause was deafening, not just at the start of the program, but after each speaker’s points were made.

It was clear that even if the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says impeachment is “off the table,” a sizeable hunk of the American public is hungering for a taste of it.

Washington is one of a group of states where a serious effort is underway to pass joint legislative resolutions that, thanks to Rules of the House penned by Thomas Jefferson and in effect for nearly length of the Republic, would put impeachment back on the table at the House right under Speaker Pelosi’s nose. The significance of the gathering in Olympia is that a freshman senator from Olympia, Eric Oemig, has introduced a bill in the state senate calling for such a resolution. His bill, S6018, is slated to go to a hearing on March 1, to determine whether it can be considered by the full senate, and impeachment activists are planning to have hundreds—perhaps thousands—of backers on hand to make sure it gains committee approval.

“We don’t hear any of our leaders today talking about impeachment,” Oemig told the crowd. “So the fact that the grass roots have built up the way they have is remarkable!”

Oemig brushed aside what he said was a common argument among colleagues in the legislature that impeachment was not the state’s business, and that it would “interfere” with more pressing state matters. Noting that the war in Iraq—one of the key impeachable crimes because of the lies that were used to justify it—is costing hundreds of billions of dollars, Oemig pointed out how many crucial projects affecting Washington State residents were in jeopardy because of lack of federal funding. He noted too that issues like the president’s violation of civil liberties and his abuses of power directly affect citizens of the state. “I don’t think this is a partisan issue,” he said. “Many of my Republican colleagues have grave concerns about some of the Constitutional violations of this administration.”

In my own address, I focused on some key Bush constitutional violations and crimes which I believe are the best arguments to use in convincing conservatives and Republicans of the importance of impeachment. Among these are Bush’s order for the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American citizens, his use of so-called “signing statements” to invalidate (so far) 1200 laws or parts of laws passed by the Congress, and his authorization of torture. In the first case, I noted that the president has already been declared, by a federal judge, to have committed a felony by violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In the second case, I explained that Bush is claiming—illegally--that the so-called “War” on Terror makes him a commander in chief unfettered by the Constitution, with not just executive, but also legislative and judicial authority—a claim of dictatorial power that has no basis in the Constitution. Finally, I pointed out that in authorizing and failing to punish torture, the president, by making it less likely that enemy fighters will surrender, has been directly causing death and injury among US troops.

The biggest laugh came when I pointed out that failing to impeach Bush over the signing statements issue would mean that the next president—perhaps Hillary—would be able to cite Bush as a precedent and also ignore Congress. “That,” I said, “should put the fear of god into Republicans.”

McGovern told the crowd that the administration had destroyed the CIA, preferring “faith-based” to real, hard-nosed intelligence. With the angry intensity of a man who has given nearly 30 years of service to the government only to see it trashed by a know-nothing, criminal administration, he suggested that impeachment was the best way to bring the War in Iraq to an end and to prevent the launching of yet another illegal war—this time against Iran.

Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega laid out the case that the Bush administration has in essence been a criminal syndicate defrauding the American public on a scale far worse than Enron. Meanwhile, she said, the Congress, the media and the American public have, like the Queens neighbors of stabbing victim Kitty Genovese, averted their eyes from the crime.
De la Vega, a veteran federal prosecutor, and author of a new book, The U.S. v. Bush, which imagines a grand jury investigation and indictment of the president and vice president on a charge of fraud, laid out the case that the Bush administration has in essence been a criminal syndicate defrauding the American public on a scale far worse than Enron. Meanwhile, she said, the Congress, the media and the American public have, like the Queens neighbors of stabbing victim Kitty Genovese, averted their eyes from the crime.

Questions following the three presentations focused on why the Congress has been so unwilling to act to initiate impeachment, and on what the American people can do.

The answer all the speakers gave in one way or another was to organize—to convince neighbors, co-workers and friends of the need to impeach the president, to lobby a cowardly Congress to act, and, most importantly, to help move Sen. Oemig’s bill forward in the Washington Senate and House.

At present, three states, Washington, Vermont and New Mexico, have bills calling for joint impeachment resolutions (other states, including Rhode Island, New Jersey and California, may also see bills submitted). Under Thomas Jefferson’s Rules of the House, any one of those resolutions, if passed and forwarded to the House of Representatives, could start the process of impeachment.

It seems likely that if Washington passed Oemig’s bill (it currently has eight co-sponsors), or if one of the ones moving through the legislatures of Vermont or New Mexico were to pass, the other states might follow suit. As well, representatives in Congress could feel emboldened to submit their own bills of impeachment.

In other words, the dam will burst, and impeachment will be underway.

In Olympia, as 900 fired-up and fed-up citizens left the hall last Tuesday—signing impeachment petitions on the way out—it was clear that the dam had already burst, at least locally.


Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns, titled This Can't be Happening!, is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's latest book is The Case for Impeachment, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. Visit his website for more information. Lindorff may be reached at dlindorff@yahoo.com. This story is published in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on February 24, 2007.
 


Public Service Ads: